After NCP, CPI-M willing to take up EC's EVM hacking challenge; AAP, Congress stay away
Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Sitaram Yechury's CPI-M have emerged as the only two parties willing to take up the EVM hacking challenge organised by the poll panel on June 3, a Commission spokesperson said here.
The challenge, announced by the EC to counter allegations of EVM tampering levelled by parties such as Aam Admi Party and BSP, will be held on June 3 between 10 am and 2pm.
He said a total of eight parties had responded to EC's letter of invitation for the June 3 event.
"NCP expressed interest in participating in the EVM challenge. AAP and Congress raised some issue as per the existing framework of challenge but have not expressed their interest in participating.
"The CPI, CPI(M), BJP and RLD expressed their interest to observe (the challenge)," he said.
The All India NR Congress wrote that it will not participate in the challenge, the spokesperson said.
The AAP and the Congress have raised some issues but as per existing framework of EVM challenge, they have not expressed interest in participating in it.
The Congress today urged the Election Commission to relax the three rules of the EVM challenge that prevents challengers from conducting a thorough test on the machines and said "their inclusion undermines the credibility of the initiative".
In a letter to the chief election commissioner, AICC communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala said in the party's opinion this challenge must be "fair, transparent and unambiguous in terms of scope, scales and rules".
He noted that the extensive terms and conditions of this challenge unfortunately prevents challengers to conduct a thorough test of the electronic voting machines.
"We urge you to reconsider relaxing the three rules of the challenge as their inclusion undermines the credibility of their initiative," he said in his letter.
He said the rules imposed by the EC say that the challenger will only be provided access to the control units and the ballot units.
Earlier today, AAP wrote a letter to the EC accusing the poll panel of running away from the promised hackathon.
In the letter AAP wondered why the EC -- "an institution that has always protected democracy" -- was not ready for an open hackathon to safeguard the country's election process.
The letter, to Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, was in response to EC's rejection of AAP's demand that it be allowed to "tamper" with the EVM motherboard at the challenge.
"Why is the Election Commission running away from no- holds barred hackathon," it asked.
On Saturday last, the Commission had announced that the challenge to hack and tamper with the electronic voting machines (EVMs) would take place on June 3 and the seven recognised national and 49 state parties can apply till this evening to participate in the challenge.
After the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, the BSP and AAP had questioned the reliability of the machines.
Later, several opposition parties, except the AAP, had urged the EC to revert to paper ballot, saying the faith of the people in EVMs has eroded.
A demand of the AAP to tamper with the motherboard of the machine was rejected by the Commission. It said change in circuits would mean the EVM is no longer the one used by the Commission.